The 20th century wasn't *that* long ago. You know they had rockets and nuclear reactors in the 1950s, right? They absolutely had toothpaste. Just regular baking soda will keep your teeth white.


Says fluoride toothpaste was invented in 1955, but like yiy said other alternatives existed previously.


You absolutely cannot base any observation on looks off of movies. Look at actors today, Tom cruise comes to mind. Do you think ANY of those teeth are his originals? That's Hollywood for you. Tooth issues were just as common then as they are now. Actors and actresses could afford professional whitening, crowns and caps... Etc. The average Joe schmo struggled as much as the next guy.


I think it’s so funny you use Tom cruise as your example about teeth - rather than his two front teeth being in the middle, only one tooth is centered haha


Chemically whitening in addition to playing with the film coloring. In the early days of color pictures, you would essentially have a team of color engineers on hand from whoever handled the movie's color (Technicolor, Eastmancolor (Kodak), etc) which would adjust things accordingly. A great example of this is looking at vehicle headlights through the 1980's. In film headlights often give off a white sometimes blue light but anyone who remembers sealed beam lights or has ever been around classic/antique vehicles when their headlights are on knows the light to be very yellow.


I don't know that was so long ago; pretty sure the toothbrush hadn't been invented yet and floss was still a mere fever dream..


The 20th century was 22 years ago.... How old are you that you have to ask this question!? They kept their teeth clean the exact same way we and most of them, still do today.


Along with what others have said they weren't eating as much terrible foods back then. Cocoa Puffs were introduced in 1956 and we've just gone downhill from there.


So yeah the movies are absolutely lying to you but the ways people tried to whiten their teeth are urine, oil and acid. Urine works because it contains some acid though too little to really be effective, how oil is supposed to work is beyond me (but apparently it does) and acid obviously works best but can also destroy your teeth if too large a dose is used. Today it's essentially all low amounts of hydrogen peroxide (an acid).


Bleaching compounds. Not necessarily chlorine bleach we all know and love, but other things. It was not safe.